'Alone' Doesn't Have Much Going On

Jul 3, 2014

Like this year's Heaven Is For Real, the newly released Alone Yet Not Alone is a supposedly religious movie that is almost without religion.

The one-sheet poster says, "Their faith became their freedom," and the end notes identify one support character as, "the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America," but in fact there is little reference to God or faith, even when prayer would seem to be called for.

Somewhat similarly, the opening credits say Alone Yet Not Alone is "based on a true story," but the end credits say it "may be fictitious," and one commentator says the source is a "novel," and another calls it merely a "book."

Let that pass.

What matters is that neither director Ray Bengston, nor writer James Richards, nor co-director/co-writer George Escobar seem to have taken the religious theme, or anything else, seriously.

It's not that the women kidnapped by Indians in 1755 are treated without the brutality we might expect-- there are true stories of captives who were hesitant to be rescued because of the good treatment they received. It's that it is never clear what the Indians have in mind for them and what role religious faith plays, beyond the fact that if heroine Kelly Greyson is to marry the chief's son (there is no lack of cliches), she will have to convert to the Indian faith, whatever that may entail.

The virtues of Alone Yet Not Alone are largely in what it does not do: it does not exploit possibilities for sadomasochism, it does not vilify Indians, it does not preach.

But it doesn't do much else, either.